You know how we all have our ‘go to’ sayings. You know the ones that you probably learnt from your parents or other family members – sayings that people know you by. My mother’s fave is to tell someone that ‘it must have been a lie’ when they lose their chain of thought mid-discussion and can’t recover. I’m not sure where this saying came from or what it actually means, but you get my drift.
Well one of my fave sayings over the years has been to say when things aren’t quite kosher, fair, above-board etc etc that ‘it’s just not cricket’. I’ve also been known to mutter shorter versions of the phrase such as ‘not cricket, I say’ or ‘hmmmm…cricket’.
This week I feel that my understanding of fairness, integrity and honesty has been somewhat damaged. The great game of cricket was a standard that I have honoured and held up all my life as the pinnacle of polite and fair play. That’s not to say that that impression hasn’t been tarnished in recent years as the realities of sledging and match-fixing have been widely publicised. But this is much more than tarnish. Rather, my whole view of the sport has been completely hit for six. I mean what fair, polite young man shoves a bit of yellow sticky down his pants – in public I might add – for any reason, let alone to cover up a lame attempt to cheat when representing his national team.
Quite frankly this is what I would expect from a couple of kids. And what, to be honest, disturbs me most about this whole drama is the distorted view that it has created for children about integrity, fairness and honesty. Indeed, I know my first interactions with those themes were through sport and games. From playing tag to board games to rounders in the schoolyard (my knees still have the gravel scars), these competitions serve these concepts in ways that children can understand. And while I have long thought that sportspeople should not be regarded as role models off the field, it seems that on-field, even for the most polite of sports, is also now a no-go zone.
BUT CRICKET. REALLY? Sadly, it is the case that even the leader of the Australian cricket team, the captain, has some absurd win at all cost – including cheating, if required – attitude.
However, when all is said and done, one of the things that I am MOST proud about with this situation is the outrage of the Australian public. Sure, we like to win…A LOT. But we certainly do not want to go down in history as a nation of cheaters.
Fairness, Honesty and Integrity may no longer be cricket, but they are Australia.